Title – Life (2017)
Director – Daniel Espinosa (Child 44)
Cast – Jake Gyllenhaal, Rebecca Ferguson, Ryan Reynolds, Hiroyuki Sanada, Olga Dihovichnaya, Ariyon Bakare
Plot – A crew aboard the International Space Station study an alien organism found on Mars and quickly begin to discover that the seemingly harmless lifeform is in fact a life threatening killer.
“All muscle, all brain, how smart is this thing?”
Review by Eddie on 26/07/2017
Daniel Espinosa’s Life unfortunately doesn’t possess a lot of life itself.
Filled with a bunch of rather stereotypical and cookie-cutter characters, variations of seen before circumstances (even if you’ve probably never seen an evil microorganism called Calvin) and a feeling of being a less successful cousin to films like Sci-Fi big daddy’s like Alien and Sunshine, Life fails to ignite our imaginations or provide any memorable thrills, despite a fine production sheen and an idea that had more to give than it does here.
Making a name for himself directing fun action thriller Safe House and the extremely disappointing Child 44, Espinosa starts things off without much care for backstory as we’re introduced via an impressive extended opening scene to the crew of the International Space Station as they look to study a recent sample from Mars that upon examination offers up humanities first glimpse of confirmed life away from Earth.
It’s a problem for films set-up in such confined spaces like Life that being stuck with a crew of people like this means we need to really care for their plight and feel their loses, that quickly ramp up in Life after Calvin goes a bit haywire and gets a thirst for human casualties but due to miniscule backstory we never truly feel the tension or mounting sense of dread that we need to make Life anything more than passingly entertaining.
It’s a real shame Espinosa couldn’t get more out of his rather loaded cast the includes heavyweights Ryan Reynolds and Jake Gyllenhaal alongside rising stars like Rogue Nation’s Rebecca Ferguson but all cast members are laboured down with thinly written roles that disallows much of the narrative potential.
Reynold’s plays Deadpool, Gyllenhaal plays sombre, Ferguson plays fiercely determined and Calvin try’s to be menacing but at the end of the day, despite an ending that deserved a better film, Life never feels overly terrifying thanks to Calvin not actually feeling like much more than a dastardly space star-fish and the audience never getting completely sucked into this quickly paced life v death scenario.
Final Say –
It’s safe to say that we’ve all seen a better version of Life at some time or another and while it try’s its best to not feel like a copycat of its Sci-Fi forefathers, Espinosa’s film never gives us anything of note, even though this visually impressive and sometimes exciting venture sometimes threatens to elevate itself above its otherwise mundane happenings.
2 lab rats out of 5